We had to move. We were growing successfully. We were gathering more and more customers, expanding our team, storing more in our workshop – and running out of space. The workshop kept flooding. The office was cold and unwelcoming. I felt we had to find a new place.
I went straight from school into working on the family farm until I was offered a chance to buy a record shop. My friend Tim and I were often in there, listening to music to play in our band. The owner wanted to move and said “You two are always in here, why don't you take it over?”.
That was the first of many opportunities to say “Yes!”. Happy Daze was born.
I seem to be able to sense an opportunity, even in a casual enquiry. It usually works out – though once I was told to double my price if I wanted to be taken seriously...
Vikoma is a thriving business exporting worldwide from the Isle of Wight.
I was brought into the business three years ago to manage it, prepare it for sale and raise much needed investment. Key personnel were leaving and a strong management team was needed to achieve these goals and ensure Vikoma stayed on the Island.
As I began to talk to key people about the future, I found they were passionate about the business and wanted it to thrive once more...
My turning point was spotting an opportunity that others had overlooked.
Years ago, in the early days of renewable energy production, I was developing wind energy sites. I had to search for suitable areas. In those days, we used folding maps to find possibilities and check them in person.
We became very active and successful in Cumbria, but the sites were running out. How could I keep the company going and use our experience elsewhere?
The best decision I made was to go into partnership.
In 28 years, Geoff Reynolds and I never had a cross word. He was the truck driver and I was the digger driver. Between us we thought we could do OK.
Geoff had the persistence to keep searching for money to buy our first digger. I would have given up well before he did. And in the end we went with the bank that offered us a seat before they said 'No' ...
The lamb would have died. Our lambing assistant spent 15 minutes halfway through the night, helping it. Clearing its airways of gunk, encouraging its breathing, and settling it down with mum. Fully revived, it seemed to do OK. And two years later, it's about to have twins!
The farm has been in the family for six generations, so thousands of lambs have been born here. And lambing is still done much as it was for the first ones.
The best decision I ever made seems a very small one...
The best decision I made was taking the leap from working for a top beauty salon, and going self-employed. I have never looked back since making this decision and the business is now growing stronger every day.